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Boating Programs in Valentino Park, Red Hook 2008. The Red Hook Boaters PortSide NewYork Urban Divers Conservancy. A little history. Fall 2006, PortSide NewYork, Red Hook Boaters, and Urban Divers met with Julius Spiegel, Eric Green, and Partnership for Parks.

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Boating Programs in Valentino Park, Red Hook2008

The Red Hook Boaters

PortSide NewYork

Urban Divers Conservancy


A little history

  • Fall 2006, PortSide NewYork, Red Hook Boaters, and Urban Divers met with Julius Spiegel, Eric Green, and Partnership for Parks.
  • Spiegel approved us to have boat storage in Valentino Park.
  • “A container” was discussed. Concern about the ugliness of containers was expressed.
  • The three boating groups met and concluded:
  • all our gear does not fit in one container
  • Increased programming in Valentino necessitates more than just a storage box
  • Carolina Salguero of PortSide conceived of a 3-container complex that looks like a building with educational panels and a roof water collection system.
  • The designer Todd Seidman turned the napkin doodle into a plan.

2008 schedule:

Free kayaking on 22 days this summer

1,500 kayak rides in 3 years

“every person who has a fun kayak ride, and picks up some trash becomes an environmental advocate for the harbor.”

All programs free and open to all.We do a beach clean-up every time we run the kayaking program.

This gets the local residents thinking about litter and water quality.


We partner on programs:

3/08 Hosted Parks NYC Watertrail launch attended by Parks Commissioner Benepe

9/07 Hosted rest stop and press conference for 5 borough Kayak Ramble run by Queens Parks Commissioner Lewandowski

Free kayaking during Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival

Free kayaking during PortSide’s Kayak Valet event

Activities with youth from the Red Hook Initiative

We hosted event for Partnership for Parks to thank their grant recipients.

We helped BCUE do a tour of Red Hook


re-establishing the connectionbetween people ashore and on the water… creating activities and spaces for both


Kayak Valetinvented by PortSide

Valets watch the boats so paddlers can visit inland.

Neighborhood historical and shopping Information is provided to visitors coming by land and sea.


Proposed for Valentino

Education and interpretation

Safe boating information (tides, currents, use of marine radio)

Ship identifier chart

“Maritime Trail” about Red Hook history

Community Sailing - makes sailing affordable and shared


Proposed for Valentino

Community Sailing

Community sailing means low cost and free programs, lessons, and events on boats many people use.

Programs can be structured a number of ways.

Usually, grants and low-cost adult sailing subsidize free youth boating.



Teaches teamwork

Instills confidence

Teaches water safety

Develops work skills – PortSide will launch a Marine Career Center


Community Sailing Market Research

We looked at other examples

Community Boating Center, Providence, RI

The American Small Craft Assoc., Queens

Community Boating, Boston

Courageous Sailing, Boston

We surveyed the community

Community Board 6

Red Hook Houses Tenant’s Assoc.

Survey form available on line

Survey form in Red Hook Rec Center

Dozens of surveys received


What it needs

A boat, here’s our first one

Something to attach the boat to

Your permission

urban divers conservancy
Urban Divers Conservancy

Live! Beneath The Estuary Underwater Video Exploration

Guided eco-cruises historical and ecological perspective; hands-on scientific investigation on the health of the Gowanus Canal.

Annual Submerge Art and Environment Festival celebrates the Gowanus Canal.

urban divers
Urban Divers

Environmental testing

Annual waterway clean-up of Gowanus Canal

Oyster seeding project


The Roof

  • makes the containers look like a building
  • provides shade
  • collects rainwater for rinsing boats, gear, people


  • Announces programming
  • Provides educational, safety + historical info
  • Masks the “container look”


  • Fills unused, ratty corner of the park
  • Blocks view of ugly ATF building
  • Convenient to beach

Avail space is 27’ x 66’ without cutting down trees or moving rocks


What’s there now

A lovely view of the ATF!


Growing interest

Locals spend more time in Valentino because of our programming.

We draw people from around the city to the park.

PortSide will host Rocking the Boat from the South Bronx.

5/15-17, they will circumnavigate Manhattan with 5 boats and 18 rowers. They will sleep on PortSide’s home, the tanker Mary Whalen, but we don’t know where to put their boats.


Not so fun facts

Red Hook real estate is increasingly expensive and constrains boat programming.

PortSide did not get the space it was promised and has been searching since winter 2005 for space for The Flotsam Project (outdoor furniture made from beach driftwood) and boat storage.

The Red Hook Boaters sublet space in an industrial building in 2007, but had to leave due to redevelopment. For 2008, the Red Hook Boaters are renting storage space for one container on industrial land. The $4,000 they pay in rent could purchase additional equipment for expanded programming.